Varadkar doubts public support for abortion recommendations
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he does not believe the country would support the Citizens’ Assembly’s recommendations on abortion.
Mr Varadkar, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney were questioned at the Fine Gael think-in yesterday on their views on the body’s proposals, which include access to terminations with no restriction on reasons.
The Ministers insisted there was a need for a respectful and thorough debate. However, each stressed their belief that the recommendations would not receive the support of the majority of the public.
Mr Varadkar said: “I honestly don’t know if the public would go as far as what the Citizens’ Assembly have recommended.
“Public opinion polls have indicated that they wouldn’t, but that may change during the course of the debate, and having observed the Citizens’ Assembly and how that debate evolved, we have become aware of the availability of abortion pills and how they work.
“It is actually quite possible that people’s views may change as we have the debate.”
The Oireachtas committee examining the Eighth Amendment is to hold its first public meeting next week with the chairwoman of the assembly, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy.
The 21-member committee is being asked to assess each of the proposals made by the assembly.
Fine Gael TDs will have a free vote on the committee and in the Dáil and Seanad on the recommendations that arise from their deliberations.
Mr Varadkar said members would be allowed to campaign on either side of the argument if a referendum arose..